Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Deborah A. Stansil

 

Today I’m hosting fellow North Easterner author and blogger Deborah A Stansil.

Deborah kindly sent me a copy of The Mirror as part of her feature here today. 



Deborah is Author to The Joker, The Twisted Tales series as well as recently published The Mirror.

As you all know, I love to have a book to read, especially before going to bed.

I find it the ultimate therapy to relax after the chaotic days.

This month’s bed time read has been ‘The Mirror’.

The story centres around Amy and her daughter Lilly. They make a seemingly innocent purchase of a mirror that goes in Lilly’s bedroom.

But then Lilly’s behaviour starts to change.

It’s been interesting to read this from a parent’s point of view now that I have the Little Lady. Although I’m nowhere near the school days at the moment, the story involves not only the concerns of Lilly’s parents, but that of the school too.

There’s an underlying story that’s ticking over that’s fuelling Amy’s constant anxiety over her daughter, which comes tumbling out half-way through the book.

These are all issues that once upon a time I would have read on auto pilot and not really reacted too (cold-hearted I know but the pre-parent me could switch off).

Now, the motherhood side of my brain plays upon these topics and experiences and puts myself in that position.

It’s interesting to see Lilly’s character change and how it affects those around her; her parents, her teachers and even her best friend, Jessica.

At the time of going to press, I’m still reading (and enjoying!) The Mirror (life’s getting in the way a bit of my reading plans – imminent house move).

I’m at a part of the story where a link appears to be forming with the mirror and the family (no spoilers). I’m now intrigued as to what angle this is going to take and my heart goes out to Amy for what she’s experienced in the past.

Looking forward to getting tucked up tonight to read a few more pages. 

 

~Biography~

Deborah A Stansil Author Pic Missuswolf

Born and raised in the North East of England, Deborah A Stansil always dreamed of one day becoming a writer. As a teenager, she would write fiction but she rarely shared it with anyone, and as an adult, life got in the way.

She never forgot her passion to write creatively and now the dream is a reality, with both her books and her blog. Deborah has well and truly caught the writing bug and she is now a full time writer.

She enjoys reading, writing and she’s never far from a book or a notepad/laptop. She also enjoys travelling, both in the UK and abroad and one day, she would love to travel the world.

Deborah is best known for her love of the horror genre, both writing and reading, although she does enjoy writing in both the crime and fantasy genres too. She hopes you enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoyed writing them!

 

 

Hi Debbie welcome it’s good to have you here today.

 Congratulations on your fourth book – The Mirror. What was the inspiration behind it?

The Mirror Deborah A Stansil book Missuswolf

 

I actually started out with the intention of writing a haunted house type of plot (watch this space for that one in the future!). When I sat down to write it, the idea of involving a mirror kept nagging at me. I have always had a thing about mirrors being spooky, so I changed tack completely and went with the idea of the mirror as the central theme to the story.

 How would you compare writing The Mirror to anything you’ve previously written?

The Mirror was written in a very different way to my usual fiction. There was no real plan, no outline, it just poured onto the page. I loved writing this way, I felt like I had no limits and the story kind of wrote itself in a sense.

How do you organise your writing time?

I write freelance as my full time job, so I try to work on my own novels on a night time. I’m a bit of a night owl anyway so this works well for me as somehow I always seem to feel more motivated at night. Once I get into a story though, I do sometimes find it spilling over into my work time (oops!).

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I’ve always said I wanted to write a novel, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I actually sat down to do it. There wasn’t really any big event that spurred me on, it was just a matter of stop saying it and start doing it!

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and are able to let your creative juices flow?

I mostly write on my laptop, perched on the top of my bed. All the advice says this is wrong, I should have a desk and some sort of office space, but this works for me.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

I had a poem published in an anthology when I was fifteen. I submitted it under a pen name because I was embarrassed in case people knew I had written it! The worst thing is I can’t even remember what the anthology was called!

 Thank you so much for having me, this has been great

       

Thank you for being here today Debbie and best of luck with the book.

~Where to find Deborah~

Missuswolf - Deborah Stansil My Random Musings

Blog: www.myrandommusings.co.uk

Website: www.deborahstansil.com

Amazon author page: https://goo.gl/FrXC4V

Twitter: www.twitter.com/randommusings29

FB: www.facebook.com/myrandommusingsblog/

Insta: www.instagram.com/debrandommusingsblog29

The Joker: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JND8VY6

The Mirror: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N9YWFBN/

Twisted Tales: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H94D1MS

Twisted Tales 2: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MSRDI4

Love Missuswolf xxx

Guest Post: The Books I Love Reading With My Boys

Today’s guest post is from the lovely Deb Sharratt from My Boys Club who is kindly sharing with us the books that she’s loved reading with her boys …

 

@MyBoysClub is a lifestyle, travel and food blog by Deb Sharratt all about enjoying life in a family of boys. Follow at www.myboysclub.co.uk or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

  

The books I’ve loved reading with My Boys …

There are so many reasons why reading to and with your children is a good thing. Helps them learn to read, improves concentration, teaches them new things, improves vocabulary, encourages creativity, can develop empathy and is calming and relaxing. However as well as all this it’s fun. It’s a special time between parent and child and I’ll really miss it when my boys no longer want to read with or to me or indeed no longer want a bedtime story.

Maybe that’s the reason why I’m a keen buyer of kids box sets and series of books  – I’m trying to make the bedtime story last forever! Anyway here are my top seven series of books sets.

 

Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child have been read and spoken so many times in out house that my boys can recite the entire books perfectly without having to read them. The books have inspired trails, such as this one in Hamsterley Forest,(http://www.myboysclub.co.uk/2016/10/all-leaves-are-brown.html) but other stories such as Tiddler, Stick Man, Monkey Puzzle and The Smartest Giant in Town too, with their flowing, soothing, rhyming stories are a favourite with toddlers and are just as delightful for older children as well.

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My Boys receive their first ‘Wimpy Kid’ books as a reward for having 100% attendance at school and they have been hooked ever since. With both typed text and comic strip style illustrations, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney are all about a kid called Greg who fills in his journal (not a diary!!) of all the misadventures in his life. Everything Greg seems to do has hilarious consequences and his family are very funny.

My Boys couldn’t stop reading these books and thought they were funny and fun to read. They also laugh out loud at the films too.

Michael Morpurgo

Any collection of books by one of the nation’s favourite storyteller is one to treasure. The former British Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo is known best for

children’s novels such as War Horse (1982) but has written over 100 books. His work is noted for its “magical storytelling” but also for recurring themes such as the triumph of an outsider or survival, for characters’ relationships with nature, and for vivid settings such as the war. We are now on our second collection of books. I was a little worried about the subject matter at first – the books cover wars, morality, death and what is deemed right and wrong but in doing have provoked many questions about so allows my boys to learn to share and express their thoughts.

 

Mr Men

Ever since the first books were published in 1971, Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men have been an enduring favourite with children (and parents!) of all ages. The likes of Mr. Happy, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Bump and friends must rank as some of the most famous characters in children’s books – and the boys love reading them as much as I did when I was a child. There are so many to enjoy and we love the bold, bright illustrations and simple storylines that make the Mr. Men stories fun and appealing for my boys to read over and over again. Every Mr. Men character has a key personality trait that provides huge entertainment as they head off on a variety of adventures but my favourite one remains Mr. Tickle.

Dr Seuss

Well, what can you say about Dr. Seuss’ wild, wacky and energetic creations? They are amazing. Entertaining. Loveable. And tell a great story too in rhyme making them easy to read and even easier to listen to. From The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, these are timeless books of crazy rhymes and weird and wonderful characters that we never tire of reading.

 


Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children’s books for their unsentimental, macabre, often darkly comic mood, featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters. His books champion the kind-hearted and feature an underlying warm sentiment. Some of his best-known books for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine.

Read about our year of celebrating 100 years of Roald Dahl

(http://www.myboysclub.co.uk/2016/12/2016-year-celebrating-roald-dahl.html).

 

His stories have gone on to capture the hearts and imaginations of children and adults across the globe, Matilda has always been a firm favourite with me and my boys.

 

How to Train A Dragon

These books inspired the Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon films. It is a series of twelve children’s books written by British author Cressida Cowell. The books are set in a fictional Viking world and focus on the experiences of protagonist Hiccup as he overcomes great obstacles on his journey of becoming a hero the hard way. The books have some illustrations, activities and also teach you how to speak Dragonese and train your own dragon to do tricks!

My boys love them all but they are perfect for children of any gender. Whichever books you choose to read, enjoy, it’s a very special time.

What’s your favourite book to read with your children?

Deb x

 

Story Corner: Baby and Lion Dog 

As I’m an avid reader, there was no doubt that the pushy mother side of me would inflict books upon the little lady.

So welcome to my new feature – Story Corner.

And the first book in this series is a fabulous new book called ‘Baby and Lion Dog: The Search for the Missing Nose’.

Missuswolf Story Corner Baby and Lion Dog Book

It’s written by a lady called Elizabeth Forbes, a deputy headteacher, whose dream of writing and publishing a children’s book has come true.

The book is a first in a series aimed at 3-7 year olds.

You can try to sit and read it to your babies, although mine won’t sit through longer stories at the moment (she’s a bit too young – only nine months).

However, I’m starting to build up her collection and I love supporting new writer’s.

Baby and Lion Dog will be added to her bookcase for when she’s a bit older.

Sooo – what’s it abooooot??

Baby and his pet Lion Dog have a special relationship. Each story takes them on a different adventure; searching for clues, helping people and solving mysteries.

What will happen on their special adventure this time?

Baby and Lion Dog attend the local circus whereby they come across a clown who can’t find his red nose (sob!) They must both help him find his red nose in order to save the clown’s performance!

I love the part of the book where they start their hunt for the nose.

The dialogue changes into short, snappy rhyming paragraphs. This picks up the pace of the story and I can imagine when Ella is older that she would love this – it emphasises the little mission that they are on.

Very well written and the illustrations are just superb.

img_1682

This book is fab if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, Christmas Eve Box or stocking filling for your little one.

Grab yours here:

 

Read more about Baby and Lion Dog on their website.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Missuswolf Typewriter Compliments Disclosure

 

Lean In: A Must-Read Book For Working Mums (Career Loving Parents)

Friday 25th November 2016


The time is vast approaching when I will be returning to work full time following nearly ten months maternity leave.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve really struggled being away from work for this amount of time.

Since I was sixteen, I’ve worked full time.

Half my life in fact.

So to go from that to being at home with a baby all day has been somewhat of a culture shock for me.

I’m used to being busy. I like being busy. I’m typing this as I try and cram some ‘me time’ in as Ella naps. I’ve blogged to keep me sane.

I’ve got a brain.

I want to use it not lose it.

And it’s helped massively.

But what has spurred me on even more to make the decision (to be a full time working mum) is Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’.

Missuswolf Lean In Sheryl Sandberg Kindle cover with baby shoes and wand

I’m choosing to go back full time. I want to stay in this rat race.

I know Ella will be fine at nursery – heck nursery will prep her for school, which in turn preps her for the world.

At her visit last week she was craning her neck to see what was going on. She was desperately trying to wriggle out of my arms to join in.

I’m not worried about her going to nursery in the slightest. It will be good for her development – better than what I could ever provide her.

I don’t want her to have flown the nest and I’ve sacrificed my ambitions when I had the opportunity to chase them.

Missuswolf Mother and daughter walking on a country lane

Ella’s not mine to keep.

She’s mine to teach.

One day she will have a life of her own.

And I’ve thought this practically from the day she was born.

I’ll do my job with her and always love her beyond belief.

But we are both human beings and want the best for ourselves out of life.

In the book, Sheryl mentions Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller foundation, and the subject of how women choose to leave the workforce.

It would make sense for me to cut my hours. In essence I’m working to pay for my child to go to nursery and the household bills with very little play money at the end.

Missuswolf piggybank

But I’ve chosen to do this.

I don’t want to give up my career now when I was at the peak of it prior to maternity leave.

I’ve worked too hard. I’ve put in too many hours to just hold my hands up and step down.

Because in a couple of years, Ella will be at pre-school. Then actual school.

What do I do then? If I’d chose to leave the workforce, I’d be back in a position where I could go full time and not have to pay the nursery fees.

After discussing this with my OH, we are both acutely aware that the next couple of years are going to be hard financially.

But it won’t last.

Plus, we’ve struggled and survived on my maternity pay this year. We can make it through the next couple of years.

If I look back to November last year when I was twenty weeks pregnant, the time has flown over. I now have an eight month old.

Next November, I’ll have a twenty month old. Nearing that gap to fifteen hours free nursery care. Which will certainly ease the burden.

So I know I can do this.

I think maternity leave is the hardest part. You’re left alone to deal with this baby day in, day out, with little help and lack of money.

But come weekends and trips away, with the OH, family and friends – I don’t feel the stress and burden anymore. And bizarrely, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my KIT days. They’ve been welcome breaks.

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do – far from it. Every family set-up and circumstance is different. This isn’t a bash at parents who stay at home or work part time. It’s simply what I’ve chosen to do and I’ve found a book that’s supported my thought process.

This post is in case there are any like minded people out there struggling to come to a decision. I want them to read this and know it’s OK.

Sheryl broaches the subject that us women are often the breadwinners in our generation. So we do have to go back full time. Which is good. However, we’re penalised with nursery fees.

This was my case but I’m actually taking a cut when I go back to my new role. However, it’s still a promotion – and a development opportunity. I’m still in the game.

Sheryl’s point though is that if there was more help with childcare, more women would go back full time. For some families, it’s just not cost efficient to do so.

And I get that.

But what if those women really wanted to go back to work? That they were clever, hard-working and had ambition and drive?

Missuswolf woman at laptop working

Not only is it them missing out on bettering themselves and in turn bettering their families, but businesses are missing a trick. They are effectively losing out. Losing a strong member of staff simply because they can’t afford the childcare.

This is something that the government needs to look into and help with funding nurseries. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

However, Sheryl’s stance on this is that women mistakenly drop out of the workforce as their salary barely covers childcare. She promotes a different way of thinking. That we should measure the cost against our future salary rather than our current.

And with that in mind, I’m more than happy to go full steam ahead of working full time.

Sheryl discusses childhood bossiness and the neighbourhood. Looking back, I had similar drive. As an eight year old, I used to dance on our driveway with my sister and our friends.

 

img_1480We would put on shows.

Our favourite song to dance to was Two Unlimited’s ‘Get Ready For This’. I know. How cool were we?

I went so far as to type up tickets (on a typewriter too – no computers in those days) on yellow or green paper. Then we would march around the neighbourhood and sell them to people. To come and watch six girls in crop tops and cycling shorts dance.

And people actually bought them.

Could you imagine if we did that in this day and age??

Suffice to say our parents marched us straight back to return the money.

But looking back, you could say it was the start of business thinking.

When I was ten years old, I bought jewellery making kits and pulled together some earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

I packaged them and marketed them as ‘GG’s Gems’ and sold them at fayre’s at the local community centre.

Why I’ve never pursued this little trait I’ll never know but my god I wish I’d gone to University and done English/Journalism or Business and Marketing.

Never mind. I suppose it’s never too late.

My point being is that Sheryl Sandberg had a similar streak and ‘bossiness’ about her. Now I am no way comparing myself to her at all (I wish!) but her point is that it’s not bossiness as a little girl. It’s leadership qualities coming through.

And I’ve never seen myself as a leader. But maybes at this point in my life, it’s time to become one. Especially through the eyes of my little girl.

Missuswolf little girls taking photo

I want her to look up to me. To see her mammy working hard but playing equally as hard. Show her independence and drive. That mammy enjoys using her brain and contributing financially. See her mammy happy as she has a healthy balance in life.

And lead her to strive for that same well-being.

Leadership is also a quality to look for and nurture in little girls of our own. Which I’m going to do with Little Miss E.

Missuswolf little girl in princess outfit

#GirlBoss

Sheryl points out that thriving marriages appear to be ones where both parents work full time and have careers as well as children. There’s less guilt and good mental health. Some data also suggests that two working parents outside the home are advantageous to a child’s development – especially girls.

Missuswolf little girl reading

I agree with this statement for my set up. I’m used to being extremely independent – working full time, having my own money and coming and going as I please.

 

To say this has been turned upside down this year is an understatement. I’ve had to be dependant on someone else, had very little money and my schedule is dictated by a small human.

Who wouldn’t look back on their former selves with envy? Of course parenthood and maternity has probably been the hardest year of our marriage. So I’ll be welcome of a level playing field come January.

Missuswolf couple on top of mountain

Like I said before, there’s no question about my love for my child. I just know exactly what I want out of life and Sheryl Sandberg has shown me I can get it. Being a mother does not prevent me.

In fact, it fuels me. I’ve discovered a drive I’ve never had before.

I’m more determined than ever.

Caroline O’Connor refers to herself as a career loving parent instead of a working mum.

And I love this title.

From now on, I will refer to myself as a career loving parent. A woman who loves business and works to better herself as well as her family.

Like Beyonce says:

Missuswolf woman with child on her back in working fields

 

Who Run The World.

Girls.

Where you can grab a copy of Lean In:

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Images from Unsplash

How To Improve Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing: Love. Yourself. Lean. Journal

Monday 31st October 2016

Missuswolf Typewriter Compliments Disclosure

Improving physical and mental well being is a re-occurring theme on here. I had the opportunity to receive the Love Yourself Lean Journal and I thought it fitted in nicely with my blog.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Box

Everyone loves a delivery right? Especially a super speedy one that arrives beautifully wrapped.

As a child on the cusp of my teen years, I kept a diary. And you could say that this blog is a form of online diary.

But this Journal is a diary

with a difference.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Package

Pretty Packaging!

It focuses on Heartfelt Happiness and Harmonious Health.

I’ve never been so conscious of my physical and mental well-being as I have over the past fourteen months.

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I’ve had to mentally adapt.

Mentally adapt to:

  • the fact my body was going to change and I was more aware than ever what I was eating and drinking
  • the fact that there would be the painful labour process at the end of the pregnancy
  • the fact I would actually need to have a section instead as the baby was breach
  • that I would be responsible for this little person in our lives
  • going from a busy high-profile job to a slower pace of life, spending more time at home with a baby
  • my post-baby body
  • the constant of it all while I’m still on maternity leave. No matter how busy I make myself sometimes there feels like there is no break or no way out. And it feels worse the longer I’ve been off

The whole time – from becoming pregnant, to having the baby and then caring for this small human – it’s a lot to mentally process.

I’ve met people while I’ve been on this journey and it’s brought to light mental health awareness – particular Postnatal Depression.

I know some of my readers have experienced it, or are experiencing tough times in their lives right now.

Sometimes we need

to take a step back.

To shift our focus.

Before you can take care of someone else you need to care of yourself first.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Book

When I heard about the Love Yourself Lean Journal, it resonated so well with where I’m at in my life. It’s come along at the right time.

I know I’m fortunate to have this time off with my baby and I should make the most of it (as I don’t intend on doing it again. I’ve made my contribution to the human race). But my god it’s hard! It becomes mundane. Especially when you don’t feel great when you’ve caught the usual Autumn lurgies.

So this Journal is a great way to pull me into focus.

There’s a section on How To Use The Book, which covers areas like breathing, trust, feelings and reflection to name a few.

This is followed by a Getting Started page that prompts you to take pictures every four weeks for a year. This includes a no make-up selfie – to document the effects that drinking water has on your skin and eyes.

It reigns in to focus on and capture the following moments over a year:

Mental Health #Keenbean

Spiritual Health #Serenebean

Physical Health #Leanbean

Emotional Goals #Dreambean

Eureka Moments #Eurekamoment

You can focus on one of these a day and capture what you are grateful for, as well as a Self Love activity. Although it’s encouraged to post through Instagram as well, you can do it on a private or public facing account. It’s however you feel comfortable.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Journal Page of a diary example

In the Journal, there’s space to record how many glasses of water you drink, your food diary and how many hours sleep you have (I know – sore subject among the parent sorority).

It takes five minutes out of your day to fill it in. And it does make you more aware of what you’re eating and drinking.

I used to drink so much water when I was at work and now I find I don’t drink half as much. It’s affected my skin and even my lips. The lethargic feeling I put down to being a parent isn’t helped by the lack of water and the upped caffeine intake.

And sometimes I think it’s my own doing. I’ve got into the caffeine habit since Ella was born. While at first it was very much-needed, as the months have gone on (hate talking about this for fear of jinxing it) it’s an area that’s not too bad. So like I say – it’s just become habit.

Plus the coffee and cake get together’s don’t help. (Well, they do at the time. They save our sanity. But on reflection, doing this and not drinking a lot of water I tend to get headaches.)

As many of you know I’m a bit OCD and I can’t start this diary on a random date. So I’ve been doing practice runs over the weekend and I’ll officially start the Journal on 1st November.

However, I’ve drank my two litres of water a day and, despite being full of cold, my skin actually looks fresher and plumper. I know. Weird! But if this is the benefits that I completely took for granted as part of my lovely old working life then hell yeah bring them back!

I did get into a good exercise routine over the summer which I’m going to bring back. This was just a home workout in my make-shift gym (the living room once all the toy crap is shoved away for the night). Last night I forced myself to do my forty-five minute routine.

Missuswolf Gym ball and weights

My Makeshift Gym

And do you know what? I instantly felt better working out. My nose wasn’t as blocked while I was doing it and my mood lifted with all those lovely happy exercise endorphin’s.

On the spiritual side of things, suggestions are things like going for a walk, meditating or visiting a new destination to name a few. I’ve been using the Headspace App and doing some meditating that I’ve learnt at Postnatal Yoga.

For the emotional goals, simple things like a cup of tea in peace (I should be so lucky ha!) or rushing to help a friend in need.

The Journal also has a four-week review page. It encourages you to look back over the last twenty-eight days and count how many days you focused on each health area. This will show you areas that you need to focus on for the next four weeks. As someone who also loves stats and analysing figures, again – this is right up my street!

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Week Four Review

A lot of time, effort and love has gone into making this Journal.

As a super organised person who thrives on routine and structure, I love having this to focus on.

I’m interested to see where this journey will take me. What kind of person I’ll be this time next year and how my mental and physical well-being changes. I’d like to think that I feel a lot more secure and get more satisfaction out of life (by this I mean I have a balance).

So the year is going to be all about getting that balance right. I’ll experience going back to full-time work and juggling this with childcare. It’ll be interesting to see how my mental and emotional goals change.

If you want to improve your overall physical and mental well-being, this Journal is ideal.

Plus a visit off Santa Claus is not too far away so this is a fab pressie.

It could be your resolution – New Year, New You.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Fizz Friday – Mammies Night Out & other #LittleLoves

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Missuswolf Coffwee Work Sleep Repeat Little Loves

 

Today I’m linking up with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat’s #LittleLoves …

Read

I See You Clare MackintoshI finished reading ‘I See You’ by Clare Mackintosh last week. I’ve previously read ‘I Let You Go’ (cheeky blog post plug – catch an earlier interview with the author here) which I really enjoyed so I was looking forward to reading her second novel.

Both are psychological thriller’s, which I went through a phase of being obsessed with last year.

‘I See You’ freaked me out a bit as it’s based on someone watching people’s commutes to work. Plus now I have a mammy head on my shoulders I seem to have lost an outer layer of thick skin when it comes to reading gritty books.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it – I did. I still think ‘I Let You Go’ was much better but I like Mackintosh’s writing style and the concept of the book was quite clever.

The author used to work in the police force and has used her experience to write from the investigation side. There’s also a sub-story intertwined from the police officer’s side of things that ticks along nicely in the background..

But I loved the surprise in the middle of ‘I Let You Go’ which seemed to divide reader’s opinion. Some felt it was misleading – I thought it was good planning and inventive on the author’s part.

Watched

I love a good who-dunnit (remember Broadchurch, ahhh flippin loved that programme – and David Tennant ooooh).

Well, on Sunday night the hubster introduced me to Sky Atlantic’s current who-dunnit.

Missuswolf Little Love Unsplash

 A Night Of.

Since finishing Stranger Things on Netflix about a month ago, I’ve been in search of a new binge-fest box-set. Aside from downloading all of Sex And The City to sneak in here and there (it makes me want to drink fizz and whisky. Hmmmm)  and The Get Down (which is more of a music development story) I’ve been craving a gripping mystery.

A what happened?

Did he do it?

What’s going to happen to him now?

Cleverly filmed, love the camera angles – it’s as if you’re amongst the drama. The girl in the back of the cab talking to the driver, the conversation is filmed through the rear-view mirror. I love little things like this. Builds up a bit of tension.

I also love the little snatches of camera angles of what the character’s are up to – actions, no words. A sergeant clearing up his desk items and signing out as another one signs in; no words exchanged just simple actions.

Simple actions that jivvy the story along, a subtle indication signalling the end of their shift.

And the beginning of a new day. A new day of what’s going to happen??

I think the writer’s and screenplay have done a fantastic job in creating interesting character’s and intricately portraying them on screen. Wow, I hope I sound like I know what I’m talking about haha!

From the lawyer who has eczema on his feet and wears sandals to air them, to the  main character who suffers from asthma. Little interesting traits that are played upon and trickled into the storyline.

Also the opening credits are mint – they remind me of the beginning of the likes of True Detective and Hannibal.

Wore

Missuswolf What I wore - Next Dress Little Loves

I wore this blue and white dress to an evening do at a wedding last weekend. Not to everyone’s taste but I love a bit of pattern – espesh a nod to the sixties.

It’s actually from Next and a purchase I made last summer. I took it on my hols to Turkey.

It didn’t get much wear after then as I was preggers.

Poor dress,  must’ve been feeling a bit lonely and neglected. So I took her out on Saturday night.

My cream sandals are from H&M and I kid you not, they are about seven years old (told you I’m in desperate need of a fashion haul). Just need to ration the cake eating a little more. And do a few buggy bootcamps.  You can then catch my Fashion Haul on Elle Blonde in October.

Made

Ouch this is embarrassing. I haven’t made anything. Does making the tea count??

Heard

Headphones Little Loves

I am obsessed with Ellie Goulding’s Still Falling For You.

I love this lasses voice and absolutely adored Love Me Like You Do  from that naughty Fifty Shades film.

Steven Halpern’s Comfort Zone has also been on my playlist this past week. We listen to it in Postnatal Yoga (more of this in future blog posts) and it’s so relaxing. I’m actually listening to it right now – it’s become my writing music.

And Lastly

Last week was a super busy week!

The start of a new school term has brought with it all the baby groups – hurrah! From Baby Bootcamp to Baby Massage, Tots ‘n’ Tums and Jolly Babies (keep toot for more about these in future blog posts).

Yep – I know.  I’ve turned into a baby-group whore. I never thought I would be one for going to groups but ha there you go. It keeps me sane.

I’m embracing it (see my post on how it also helps PND here).

Throw in a McMillan Cancer coffee morning too and a mammies night out on Friday anyone would think I was on my ‘Summer Holidays’ 😉 (inside joke – or maybes not. I think I’ve explained it in a previous post??)

Regardless, doing all this (bar mammies night out) with a little human in tow is bloody hard work.

Especially when she shits herself (covering me) in the middle of the raffle being drawn at the coffee morning.

Good job I had a black top on.

I nearly wore white.

What an effing disaster that would’ve been??

On the plus side I won this lovely picture frame from Live Laugh Love and I bought this adorable  Home Sweet Home sign from the ShabbyChicMaisonbelle Stall.

Missuswolf Home Sweet Home

 

Right – Mammies Night Out. I went out to Maharaj’s Lounge, an Indian Restaurant in Blyth, with the girls I met when we all did Lush Tums Pregnancy Yoga (more about this too in future blog posts).

Maharaj's Lounge - Blyth Mammies Night Out

Mammies Night Oooot. Yes, very girls gone wild I know.

 

The last time I went to Maharaj’s I was actually pregnant with Ella but didn’t know it. Ooooops. I drank a loooottt of wine and shots that night. Bah – she’s turned out fine hasn’t she ??!

We had loads of fun with the staff – they’re good crack. They also told us about their Tapas Tuesday, which may be another possible Mammies night out. In the not too distant future either.

Missuswolf Kir Royale Wallaw

Perfect way to end a chaotic week –  with a delightful Kir Royale in The Wallaw

Cheers.

What have you been up to?

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images – credit to Unsplash

 

 

What I’ve Been Reading – January 2015

FRIDAY 30th JANUARY 2015

Happy Friday folks!

I’ve managed to take a break from the day job today (I’ve had to wait in for someone from Sky) so it’s meant that I’ve spent all day reading and writing – yey!

This month, I’ve tried to read a bit more than just a couple of chapter’s a night. So instead of watching the TV, I’ve had my head in a book.

January’s reading list has consisted of the following books:

Stephen Booth – Dying To Sin

Paula Daly – Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?

Lee Child – One Shot

Stephen Booth – Dying to SinDying to Sin

Synopsis

For decades, Pity Wood Farm has been a source of employment for poor workers passing through Rakedale, migrants with lives as abject as the labour they sought. But now it seems a worse fate may have befallen some of those who came upon this isolated community.

Routine building work at the farm has unearthed a grisly discovery: a human hand preserved in clay. When police dig up the farmyard, they find not one, but two bodies – and several years between their burials.

With pressure from a new superintendent and scant forensic evidence to aid them, DS Fry and DC Cooper have only the memories of local people to piece together the tragic history of the farm. 

In a case as cold as the ground, Cooper finds himself drawn to a desperate theory: that somewhere, there lies a third body which holds the key to these dreadful crimes.

Thoughts:

I’ve read a Stephen Booth book before – back in October 2011 –  Scared To Live (read blog post here). I’m a scatty reader when it comes to his and James Patterson books. I never seem to read them in the right order in the series. But that’s the beauty of writers like these – they write in such a way that you can just pick up – say book eight – and off you go. No real need to have read the previous book in the series. You get the gist.

For me, Dying To Sin is not one of the fastest paced novels I’ve read – but it’s not the slowest. I know that’s a vague description but that’s how I felt about it – vague. I like Stephen Booth’s style of writing – I really did feel like I was out in the Peak District, shivering with Fry and Cooper as they try to piece together what’s happened. I was a bit slower reading this – I spent most of January with Dying To Sin. It had a slow start and I felt the story went on quite a bit, as if I was waiting for something to happen. But I persevered as I’ve experienced this before with James Patterson’s Beach Road. I didn’t connect with that book to start with and I had similar feelings with Dying To Sin. However, I learnt to always give books the benefit of the doubt – and the last 100 pages of Dying To Sin did pick up pace and did leave me satisfied. But it’s not one of my favourites.

Paula Daly – Just What Kind Of A Mother Are YouPaula Daly Just What

Synopsis

Your friend’s child is missing. It’s your fault.

No family is perfect.

A husband, three children and a full-time job, so many plates to keep spinning.

No wonder you forgot you were supposed to be looking after your friend’s daughter.

But no one has seen her since yesterday.

And she’s not the first to go missing from your small town.

So who’s hiding something?

Thoughts:

I LOVED this book! Unfortunately you will have to wait until next month to hear more about it as Paula Daly has kindly agreed to take part in ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’ (thanks Paula!) But all I can say is that this book is on par with when I read The Hunger Games. A real page-turner – I didn’t want to put this one down and it really was a case of ‘just one more chapter’. I started it Saturday and finished it Monday. It’s gripping and it gets inside your head as you think ‘oh god, it could potentially happen.’ I’m not a mother so I can only begin to imagine what it would feel like. But the author brought that all to life for me. I laughed and I cried at this book. I’ve got her next one lined up Keep Your Friends Close (thanks Tammy Exton – check out her blog here).

Lee Child One ShotLee Child – One Shot

Synopsis

Six shots. Five dead.

A heartland city thrown into terror. But within hours the cops have it solved. A slam-dunk case. Apart from one thing. The accused gunman refuses to talk except for a single phrase:

Get Jack Reacher for me.

Reacher lives off the grid. He’s not looking for trouble. But sometimes trouble looks for him. What could connect the ex-military cop to this psychopathic killer?

 

Thoughts:

I’m 198 pages into this book at the moment. I loved the last Lee Child book that I read (Worth Dying For) so when I inherited this book from the Harvey’s, it was a must. Although it’s not as good as Worth Dying For which I couldn’t put down. One Shot I’m not so fussed about. It does have me hooked as to how the story is going to pan out. Lee Child’s style of writing is fast-paced and very visual. A lot happens at the start of the book and he brings this to life very well. Of course, all is not as it seems and Jack Reacher gets called in. That’s when the real mystery starts to unravel. Again I’ll persevere with this one as I may be pleasantly surprised. I think it’s had a hard act to follow when I’ve fallen so deeply in love with Paula Daly’s novel.

On that note, I’ll go and read a couple more pages …

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

The Collected Works of A.J Fikry

 This is a late blog post that I drafted back on 15th May 2014 but never got round to publishing until 6th September 2014. So here it is, when my romance with A.J Fikry began …

 

THURSDAY 15th MAY 2014

Please note this post contains an affiliate link.

As I sit in my kitchen in my pj’s, the door propped open by an awful green chair, and the dregs of the day’s sun tickling my skin – I realise it’s the happiest I’ve felt in a while.

A few contributors to this are the lovely spell of sunny weather combined with a south-facing garden, and a kitchen I can sunbathe in while still wearing pyjamas.

The main contributor is the book.

The Collected Works of A.J Fikry.

It’s the one book I’ve read since The Hunger Games that has made an impression. It’s opened up a side of me I thought I’d lost. It’s wonderfully clever, thought-provoking and a must read for an avid reader and budding writer.

The flame’s always been there – from picture books to the likes of Peter Rabbit, Caterpillar and other children’s books – particularly a book about a cat and Egypt. The name of that book escapes me as it was so long ago (which later inspired The Ruby of Egypt.)

I’m so content reading this book. It stirs in me that passion for reading and writing that’s been burning since childhood; ignited by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

I’m a believer in things happen for a reason and, at a time in my life where I’m feeling lost, A.J Fikry has found me. Although I’m not a mother, my own mother’s intuition (a possible reaction to a recent pitiful/sorrowful blog post) handed me a copy of Psychologies magazine. The timing couldn’t have been better.

The self-help and uplifting mantra articles aside, it also recommends books. The first copy I read recommended A.J. So I downloaded it. I spent all night shift week reading it in between catnaps and sunbathing.

I’ve learnt so much in this book, not only about myself, but about how to write. I’ve also come across a few other books to read among the narrative itself.

I relate to Maya – my back story differs from her – quite the opposite in fact – but nose in books and a love of reading and writing.

It’s struck deep and you always remember a book that affected you and made you think.

I will always remember A.J.

Love Missuswolf xxx

As one Chapter closes on my life, so another opens …

WEDNESDAY 16th JULY 2014

Today, I said farewell (again!) to working in a busy emergency services control room, which has been my ‘day’ job (the role has involved working to a shift pattern) for the past three years.

I was redeployed into this role in May 2011 following deletion of a Project and Performance job that I adored. This meant adapting to a new lifestyle so, to stop myself going stir crazy, I launched myself into the wonderful world of books. I read on every break, during down time on nightshift and on all of my days off. Agents

Books became my comfort blanket.

In August 2011, four months into the job, I went for a lovely lunch with my American friend, Charity. Over fizz and food in Bar Luga, we discussed our shared interests; reading, writing and photography.

Charity

Picture from Facebook by Eric Fritschi

It was Charity who suggested that I set up a blog and pointed me in the direction of WordPress. After sitting on this suggestion for a few days, I finally took the plunge.

Missuswolf’s StoryLand was born.

It’s strange how some people come into your life and have a profound effect. Charity lives on the other side of the world and I see her once a year if I’m lucky. That date back in August 2011 was definitely one of those clichéd life-changers.

So here I am, nearly three years later, a happy blogger.

Editing2Alas, the frustration and anger from being redeployed wasn’t wasted; I took that pent up negativity and set up my Novel Project 2012. In January and February 2012, I wrote my recession based chick-lit novel, which is still in the heavy editing stages and undergoing a title change.

September 2011 saw me join Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team, where I’ve met a solid support network of like-minded people from across the globe.

In December 2011, I polished off a children’s story that I had written the previous summer and self published it.

Ruby of Egypt Cover 2013

The Ruby of Egypt was born.

I introduced a weekly Author Interview feature on my blog ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’.

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

In March 2014, I set up self-employed as freelance writer and I’m now ghost-writing a historic novel.

Freelance Bus Cards

As I look back on the last three years, as tough as they have been, it’s only fuelled my determination to do what I love.

And perseverance certainly pays off.

Tonight, one chapter closes on a section of my life. It’s been a tough one, but one I will no doubt look back on in my later years with a fondness. It’s been a character building chapter.

Tomorrow, I wake up to a whole new chapter. A Project Manager job that I have always wanted and back in the ‘real world’, a Monday to Friday nine-til-fiver. Oh, and my first drinks evening networking for Engage Magazine. Another positive to come out of the last three years.

As I close one chapter tonight, I will sleep well knowing that although the road was rocky, I never gave up – that I found my inner strength and determination to lead me to this cliff-hanger where I’m desperate to turn the page …

Good night readers.

Love a very happy Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 30 – Would save if my house burned down

MONDAY 30th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is the final one (sob!) – the book I would save if my house burned down.

For starters, I hope my house never burns down.

Secondly, I can’t choose.

This one is a bit of a cop-out  as I can’t decide which actual book I would save.

My Beloved Kindle

Therefore, I choose to rescue my beloved Kindle. It houses a lot of books that have featured on my blog over the past month – and so much more.

There you have it. Book A Day is now complete.

I have truly enjoyed this challenge; it’s re-enforced how much I do love books, re-ignited my love for forgotten treasures and created a re-read list.

I’ve made some lovely connections along the way and conversed with people who share my passion for reading.

Here’s to the next #BookADayUK

Love Missuswolf xxx